So today I was in Cooperstown. It was my fourth time going to the Hall of Fame, and quite frankly, it never gets old for me.
The first time I went, I was 9 years old, and I was juuuuuust learning who these people were. Like, I knew Yogi, I knew Babe, I knew DiMaggio, and I knew the obvious ones like Mays, Banks, Robinson and Clemente. I loved the museum, and I got a program at the gift shop, one celebrating recent inductees Sandberg and Boggs, and a drinking glass with the entire transcript of the Who's on First routine printed on its side.
Two years later, in 2007, I went back, with different relatives, and more experience. At this point, I was a full on mega-collector, getting cards wherever I could, and now I knew more of the bigger players. It also helped that two gigantic names (Ripken and Gwynn) were being inducted that year. I took more advantage of the card shops, and spent some time looking for cards of Thome, Thomas, and all the players I knew from 2005, in new uniforms.
2009, the blog was already underway, and I was a seasoned collector. I knew exactly what I was doing with everything, and I knew all of the big players I'd be looking up at, even to the point of campaigning for eventual enshrinees like Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson. Now I was in it for the history, scrutinizing the exhibits, and really enjoying all the cool stuff at the hall. This year I hit up more card shops than ever, and spent a lot on dollar cards of stars.
I waited four years to get back, and it felt good to be back in Cooperstown.
As for the museum, nothing's really changed. With the exception of computerizing the leader charts, and remodeling the room reserved for perfect games and no-hitters, it's the same museum, with the same plaques, and the same exhibits. And it still continues to make me smile. It always will. It's a whole museum devoted to my pastime.
This year I did indeed hit up some card shops, and while I didn't get any BIG MOJO HITZ, I still managed to nab some nice, cheap, cards.
Diamond Kings (there were a few):
2003: Barry Zito
2004- Tom Glavine, Rickie Weeks rookie.
2005- Jose Reyes, Jeff Bagwell, Carl Crawford.
1993 Traded: Wade Boggs (one I'd been looking for for a while.)
1995- John Smoltz
1998- Roberto Alomar, "Bob" Abreu, Jim Thome
1999- Trevor Hoffman, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Jim Thome,
2000- Tom Glavine
2001- Tony Gwynn (another one I'd been looking for), Barry Larkin, Carlos Beltran.
2003- Adam Dunn.
2004 Traded -Curt Schilling (another nice one to have. year of the bloody sock!)
Sets I was looking for:
2004 Fleer Patchworks Torii Hunter
2004 Fleer Classic Clippings Carlos Delgado.
2000 Fleer Tradition Update: Rickey Henderson (a Mariner Rickey!)
2005 Bowman Heritage Chien-Ming Wang. Always nice to get a Wang.
1986 Topps Traded Phil Niekro on the Indians.
And now, the four semi-awesome rookies that I got at Cooperstown.
4. 2006 Topps Traded JERED WEAVER rookie. I rate this lower because it may not be the bonafide actual rookie, but it's still nice to have.
3. 2004 Diamond Kings DAN HAREN. Again, not the most pricy rookie, and you can do better, but it's still a nice rookie of a great player, even in Diamond King form.
2. 2000 Topps Traded BRANDON PHILLIPS. This one was the priciest of the four ($6), and right now, it's the player that's doing the best in the standings. Plus, it's kinda weird to see the current Red in Expos garb. Still, it's a great rookie to have. Still, for the #1, I have to go with...
1. 2000 Topps Traded JUAN PIERRE! This is my best find of the day not because it's the best player, but because it's my favorite of the four. The impact of Juan Pierre is undeniable, and he was brilliant for my Phillies last year. I felt like I needed his rookie, regardless of his Hall chances. Besides, it was $2.50.
So overall, my trip to Cooperstown was a success, with cards and a great day had by all.